If you’re an Atlanta Hawks fan you should be pissed, not just about the title of this article but how badly your team is playing. I’m sorry but I am not here to sugarcoat the situation. This is a team that won 60 games in the regular season with great ball movement and superb shooting. Analysis will say that a jump shooting team can’t win in the playoffs and that’s the excuse they will make for the Hawks but looking at Golden State we know that is nonsense, the Hawks were never that good in the first place.
Their defense was suspect at best, their rebounding was even worse and they have 2 maybe 3 players that can create their own shot. During the regular season they could mask their issues due to a tight 82 game schedule as they faced multiple teams throughout the week with less time to prep but in the playoffs there is more time for a coach to devise a game plan against your strengths. The Hawks strengths is the inside/out game but the Cave have found a way to shut down Millsap and Horford putting more pressure on Teague and Korver. Neither player has taken advantage as they are either scared to shoot or have just given up completely this series but it didn’t start with the Cavs.
In Round 1 against the Brooklyn Nets everyone was hot except for Horford, but the deciding factor in that series was the play or lack thereof from Deron Williams. If Williams came to play the Hawks would have been bounced in the first round. In Round 2 they went against a Wizards team that was without their best player in John Wall and was given a run for their money. Wall came back and totally messed up the flow of the Wizards offense due to his ball-hogging and the Hawks were able to regroup and take that series but I believe that with Ramon Sessions still running the point that series would have had a different outcome if Wall had stayed out. Now we move to Round 3 and they are facing a Cavs team playing with a determination and heart the size of Texas and the Hawks have no match for that. Did I forget to mention the blaring obvious, the injuries to Kevin Love and now to Kyrie Irving.
Irving was not himself the first game and yet the Hawks were not able to take advantage. Teague went off for 27 points but where the heck was Millsap who couldn’t get anything going against Tristan Thompson, I can see if he struggled against Love but come on, this is a bench player outperforming an All Star. Poor Al Horford, I don’t know if he knows the playoffs have started yet but this is the Conference Finals and he has yet to show up. He is facing Timofey Mozgov for crying out loud. This is not Brook Lopez or Marcin Gortat both known to be 20 point scores and solid defenders, but this is a guy that was a throw away in a trade this season out-performing another All Star. Can someone put out an APB on Kyle Korver, he has been missing since the Nets series. It’s totally not his fault, if the ball movement is not crisp than his game is non existent as he just runs through screens and shoots. In Game 2 the Cavs decided to give the Hawks a victory so they could save face with the home crowd and make this a series but they blew that chance as well. Irving sat out Friday’s game and the Hawks STILL lost. You throw out 4 All Star players in your starting unit plus the Coach of the Year and you give back a game that was given to you. Oh yeah and it was on YOUR home floor. Shameful.
Can the Hawks get back in this series? No. It is over. The Cavs gave you a shot the first two games and the Hawks weren’t in a receiving mood. LeBron and the Cavs smell blood and will go for the sweep in Cleveland. It’s possible the Hawks can win a game in Cleveland but Millsap has to play like he is a Free Agent this offseason and Horford must play like he isn’t afraid of Mozgov. I commend DeMarre Carroll for gutting it out last night but it was a waste of time. He took minutes away from Bazemore who shown that he could get to the rim, play defense and wasn’t afraid to get in the face of Lebron James but Budenholzer for some dumb reason let Carroll play 36 minutes on a bum knee when his better play was sitting on the bench. I guess that’s why they give out regular season awards and not post season awards. Coach of the Year, HAHA.
It was a good regular season for the Hawks but they are not built for the playoffs, at least not this year. They have faced three teams, all without their top players performing well or out due to injury and they have been out-performed. This Conference Finals series is mind-blowing as the Cavs have managed to beat them without Love and Irving but with JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, Thompson and Dellavedova but yet some Hawks fans will read this and criticize me, I’m not the one on the floor. I tried to be nice and not hit you with the stats to back up my case (I didn’t want you to get any tears on your phones or laptops).
Don’t shoot the messenger, shoot some life into the Hawks. A 60 win team with four All Stars and the COY has easily become the disgrace of the 2015 NBA Playoffs.